How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Fortuna Foothills AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Fortuna Foothills Arizona dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fortuna Foothills AZ employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Fortuna Foothills AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Fortuna Foothills AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Fortuna Foothills Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.